Grupo Nutresa is aware of the high level of waste production and the challenges for recovering and utilizing them, as well as the impact of packaging materials throughout their life cycle. Packaging materials generate a constant demand for natural resources and reduce the service life of landfills. Moreover, the increase in the legislations focused on regulating waste management and the implementation of more stringent frameworks, such as the producers’ extended responsibility in the geographies, represent both a major challenge and an opportunity.
- In Latin America, only 10% of the exploitable/reusable waste is effectively recycled. The waste and the packaging materials that are not exploited or reused end up at landfills.
- In Colombia, 48% of the landfills are in critical conditions with a remaining service life of less than ten years (according to the report “Final solid waste disposal 2019”).
- Implementing circular economy models that enable the adequate management of waste and packaging materials throughout their life cycle, particularly in the final disposal stage.
- Continue implementing eco-design initiatives focused on optimizing the specifications of the packaging solutions while maintaining their functionality, preserving the quality of the products and achieving a better environmental performance.
- Developing capabilities for the comprehensive management of waste based on new technologies and public-private alliances focused on creating circular economy models and mitigating the environmental impact of packaging materials throughout their life cycle.
- Achieving that 100% of the packaging materials of Grupo Nutresa’s brands are designed to be recyclable, reusable or compostable.
- Fulfilling the goal of zero industrial waste disposed of into the environment.
- Reducing by 30% the loss of food.
- Maintaining strategies for the comprehensive management of waste.
- Determining and monitoring the efficiency in the use of resources from the beginning of the packaging development stage, maintaining quality and consumer satisfaction, as well as the differentiation of the product portfolio and competitiveness based on the packaging eco-design manual.
- Continue strengthening the alliances in the packaging materials recovery and reuse chains, such as the Vision 3030 of the National Business Association of Colombia (ANDI) and Chile’s GRANSIC de AB.
- “Nutresa Refill,” an exemplary recycling model
This overarching recyclability solution gathers the technical component of the packaging materials, the recovery and transformation of post-consumption flexible materials and the communication with consumers to educate them about packaging material waste management. The first stage included the participation of nine brands from six Businesses in Colombia, which returned recyclable packaging materials through the Novaventa channel. A reduction of 749 kg of flexible plastic packaging materials was also achieved by means of the three campaigns deployed through this channel.
- Reuse of plastic lids and buckets
The Retail Food Business in the Dominican Republic implemented a model focused on reusing 2-gallon plastic buckets and their lids, which are washed, disinfected and reused multiple times until the end of their service life. If the materials cannot be reused any further, they are delivered to the corresponding supplier for a subsequent pelleting process to transform them into plastic trays. In 2020, the Company reduced its consumption of plastic materials by 188 tons thanks to this initiative.
- Circularity of the Coffee Business and its sourcing chain
Since 2014 and as part of an alliance with the Farallones Coffee Processing Central Plant, the Coffee Business has worked on developing circularity strategies and installed a coffee pulp dryer that transforms 4.140 tons of coffee husks and mucilage per year into ingredients for new value added products.
The Organization’s evolution in the management of packaging materials is reflected on multiple indicators: yearly consumption of packaging materials per ton produced and reduction in the consumption of packaging materials per ton of product with regard to the 2010 baseline.
Eco-design of wrappers and packaging
Grupo Nutresa implemented the packaging eco-design manual, which covers from the initial phase of the cycle of a packaging solution, to its final disposal. Likewise, it will strengthen the sustainable packaging culture across all the geographies where the Company operates.
This has enabled working collaboratively with suppliers, recycling chain experts and public and private institutions on the creation of sustainable packaging solutions that allow optimizing the resources and preserving the quality and competitiveness features that are essential in meeting the needs of both customers and consumers.
With the development of the design-to-value methodology in its productive Businesses, the Organization has achieved a reduction of 187 tons of packaging materials, for a total of 2.816 tons over the eight years the methodology has been in place. Some of the initiatives are focused on optimizing mechanical blueprints, reducing the thickness of materials, replacing materials with more environmentally efficient materials and implementing solutions intended to optimally close their cycle.
Transition to cleaner energy sources
Greenhouse gas emission reduction and a lesser social impact –contribution to air quality improvement– caused by the use of cleaner energies. It is worth highlighting that, over the past ten years in Colombia, the use of cleaner fuels –biomass, natural gas and electrical power– was increased by 11,8%, going from representing 88,2% of the energy mix to representing 98,6%.
- The Chocolates Business in Mexico, where PVC was replaced with PET for the pods of the Nucita brand, thus increasing their degree of recyclability.
- The Retail Food Business installed at one of its production plants in Colombia an iso-tank for the on-line storage and dispensing of soy oil, which allowed eliminating the use of plastic tubs.
- Reduction and optimization actions were implemented in the eight Businesses in Colombia and across the strategic region for all types of packaging materials. This allowed eliminating the use of 187 tons of packaging materials across the multiple categories.
Use of closed-cycle materials
The use of closed-cycle packaging materials rose to 77,5%, including corrugated cardboard, paperboard, glass and tin. This percentage included the Cold Cuts, Biscuits, Chocolates, Coffee, Pastas and Ice Cream Businesses in Colombia.
Recycled input materials used [GRI 301-1] [ODS 12.5]
77% of the packaging cardboard and 41% of the glass for the containers and bottles used by Grupo Nutresa in Colombia have recycled materials in their composition. To enhance the circular economy processes for the packaging solutions, the Company favors those that include a content of recycled raw materials in its composition. In the case of cardboard boxes, the Organization works with suppliers that hold sustainable production certifications, such as the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) seal; while in the category of foldable materials, Grupo Nutresa works with suppliers that provide materials based of sugar cane fibers.
Products and packaging materials recovered [GRI 301-1] [ODS 12.5]
- 114 tons of waste of post-industrial flexible plastic materials from the Cold Cuts and Ice Cream Businesses were transformed with the help from strategic partners. These materials were recovered through recycling processes for the production of new plastic elements for other industries.
- 3,2 tons of packaging materials were recovered through the “Sabor Costeño” (Coastal flavor) project, developed by the Coffee Business in Colombia, which encourages consumers to sort and recycle the flexible wrappers of its Sello Rojo brand to exchange them for home utensils.
- The Coffee Business also recovered 3,8 tons of beverage pods and transformed them into school furniture for low-income schools under an overarching material collection initiative.
- 2,7 tons of post-consumption flexible materials were collected through “Nutresa Retoma” (Nutresa retakes), a program launched in the second half of the year in Medellín. These materials were transformed into “plastic wood” for outdoor furniture and ecological stations by a strategic partner.
- Strengthening of the “Ver de Vuelta” (Take them back) Program among the employees in Medellín, Bogotá and Cali. This initiative promotes the recycling culture focused on post-consumption plastic packaging materials, which are recovered and transformed into “plastic wood” with the support of the Botellas de Amor Foundation.
For further more information about Grupo Nutresa’s commitment for 2030 in this regard, please read the Company’s sustainable packaging policy:
- 28,2% reduction in the production of sludge-less waste in the operations in Colombia based on the 2010 baseline.
- 23,6% increase in the production of sludge-less waste in the international platforms in relation to 2019, mainly because it was not possible to work with several recovery agents due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
- 90% recovery rate for sludge-less waste in Colombia, and 86,2% in the other countries from the strategic region (excluding United States).
- Implementation of new technologies and improvement to the productivity of the processes. The Biscuits Business reduced its waste production per year by 23 tons since 2017 with the installation of a new rotating molding machine.
- Expansion of Tresmontes Lucchetti’s regrinding plant, which allowed reintegrating 443 tons/year of dry pasta that was previously unrecoverable. This action decreased the impact of the production operations on waste production, and food loss was also reduced.
- Optimization of the production processes by using continued improvement tools, decreasing both waste production and the use of packaging materials and supplies.
- Implementation of a methodology for the nozzle drainage procedure and mechanical improvements to the filters and pumps of the Wiennerr mill by the Chocolates Business in Colombia, thus reducing waste production by 10 tons/year.
- Execution of improvement cycles in the cone production line by the Ice Cream Business in Colombia, thus achieving the recovery of the cone in the packaging machine and reducing waste production by 13.7 tons/year.
- Waste reduction analysis focused on reducing the waste from Mespack packaging materials, which allowed achieving a reduction of 31,95 by the Chocolates Business in Costa Rica in relation to 2019.